Lesley Nneka Arimah is the winner of the Kirkus Prize for fiction 2017 for her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky.
Kirkus Reviews is a US book review magazine founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus. The magazine, headquartered in New York City, publishes on the first and 15th of each month with previews of books prior to their publication.
In 2014, Kirkus Reviews started the Kirkus Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. The first year the prize went to Lily King for her book Euphoria with subsequent winners being Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life in 2015. In 2016, the fiction prize went to C.E. Morgan for his book Sport of Kings.
Those is the running for year’s this edition of the Kirkus Prize for Fiction were Jesmyn Ward for Sing, Unburied, Sing, Alice McDermott for The Ninth Hour, Carmen Maria Machado for Her Body And Other Parties, Hari Kunzru for White Tears, and Mohsin Hamid for Exit West.
The winner for this year’s edition, announced at a ceremony in Austin, Texas last night, is our own Lesley Nneka Arimah. She becomes the first African to win this prize. Arimah first gained continental recognition when she won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2015 in the Africa region for her entry Light. You can read the story of Enebeli Okwara and his shenanigans with his daughter here.
Her debut winning short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky was published by Riverhead in April 2017. The story features 12 stories including the aforementioned Light which won her a prize in 2015.
Congratulations to Leslie.
P.S. She is currently working on a novel so you know that one will be kickbutt. Can’t wait.